Experimental music programme wins UK-wide innovation award
A Belfast-based employment scheme which uses music to engage with unemployed people has won a UK-wide innovation award.
The experimental music programme, developed by employment specialists Ingeus, won the honour at the ERSA-Employability Awards 2016 held in London.
People were encouraged to develop the essential skills required to find long-term work by drawing similarities between music and employment. Singer and songwriter Duke Special played and recorded music at the Oh Yeah music centre with the job seekers.
Ingeus social inclusion manager Michelle Scott said: "It is an honour to win the ERSA award for innovation and we are delighted that it is the first ever ERSA award to come to Northern Ireland.
"Our music programme has been instrumental in enabling our clients to progress in to work and it is fantastic for Ingeus, and our delivery partners across the greater Belfast area, to be applauded by colleagues in our sector."
Designed to develop the skills required to find lasting work by drawing on the similarities between creating music and employment, the week-long employability programme first ran in Belfast last summer and involved participants writing and recording a song about their experiences.
Michael Blaney, 27, from Belfast said: "I've been unemployed since 2010. It wasn't my choice, and I have struggled to find a job ever since.
"I have experience working for retailers and that's where I want to return, so meeting employers and finding out more about them has been a real help.
"I am also a music lover and making the connection between the two industries has been fascinating. It's given me renewed enthusiasm to find a job."